Stretching is a vital part of your warm-up and cool-down during a workout session. In the warm-up, it enhances performance and prevents injury. In the cool-down, it lengthens tight muscles, increases circulation, prevents injury, and removes waste from your system.
Here are a few simple tips to remember about stretching:
• Never stretch a cold muscle. Always warm up a minimum of 5-10 minutes prior to stretching.
• For best results, activate your Golgi Tendon Organ or GTO; your muscles natural stretch “assistor.” Hold a stretch for 5 seconds, then, release the stretch for 5 seconds. Now, execute the same stretch for 20 -30 seconds.
• Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds, or for a total of 3 diaphragmatic breaths.
• Inhale as to prepare for the stretch, exhale slowly for the count of 3, while lengthening the muscle.
• In the outdoors, make sure that you are well aligned and evenly balanced on uneven terrain.
• On chillier days, be sure to incorporate a longer warm-up of 10-15 minutes prior to stretching.